HMS Argyll Sails on Far East Deployment
(Source: Royal Navy; issued June 18, 2018)
Having been recently refitted to carry the SeaCeptor air-defense missile and other upgraded systems, HMS Argyll has sailed for a 9-month deployment to the Far East. (RN photo)
Royal Navy warship HMS Argyll left Devonport Naval base today on a busy and exciting nine-month deployment to travel as far as Japan as part of a national push to strengthen military and diplomatic ties in the region. The type 23 Frigate will also visit Australia and New Zealand.

Commander Toby Shaughnessy, commanding officer of HMS Argyll, said. “This deployment, sharing the Royal Navy’s expertise and experience with our partners and allies right across the world, emphasises the UK’s commitment to promoting international security and stability."

Two other Plymouth ships, HMS Sutherland and HMS Albion, are now deployed to the East Asia region. HMS Argyll is due to arrive later this summer and depart early next year.

The deployment follows Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Tokyo last year when she and her Japanese counterpart discussed defence, security co-operation and open access to the oceans. The ship will also undertake military exercises with the Japanese Defence Force.

A highlight of the deployment will be Exercise Bersama Lima, a joint naval exercise between the UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand as part of the Five Powers Defence Arrangement.

Before reaching the Far East, the ship will patrol in the Red Sea and the Gulf, protecting civilian shipping from piracy and terrorist activity.

These operations are part of an on-going effort by the Royal Navy and the British Government to support international efforts promoting stability and security in the Middle East.

HMS Argyll, with 230 crew members, will be the first Royal Navy warship to deploy with Sea Ceptor, a supersonic missile defence system developed for the Royal Navy by MBDA Missile Systems, a partnership between BAE Systems, EADS and Finmeccanica.

The system has a range of more than 25km at speeds of up to 2,000 mph and can protect an area of 1,300km².

The ship also has the Wildcat Maritime Attack helicopter embarked. The multi-role military helicopter provides surveillance and weapons capability to the ship, covering a vast area beyond the ship’s sensors and weapons.

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HMS Shoreham Sets Sail for Gulf Deployment
(Source: Royal Navy; issued June 18, 2018)
Scots-based Royal Navy mine hunter HMS Shoreham left her home port at HM Naval Base Clyde today to embark on a 6,000-mile journey to the Gulf region.

The 40 men and women on board the Sandown Class Mine Counter Measures Vessel (known as an MCMV) waved farewell to friends and families as they set sail from the Argyll and Bute Base to take over from sister-ship HMS Bangor who has spent the past three-years in the Middle East.

Sailing the ship was Crew 3 from the First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1), the Faslane-based force which forms part of the UK’s dedicated Mine Warfare Battle Staff.

“I am immensely proud of my crew, who have worked hard this year to ensure the Royal Navy’s mine counter measures capability remains first class,” said Lieutenant Commander Adrian Visram, Commanding Officer of HMS Shoreham.

“We are looking forward to putting our training into action during our Gulf deployment, carrying out seabed surveys and working as part of an international force helping to keep the region’s sea lanes safe.”

During the deployment HMS Shoreham will meet with Portsmouth mine hunter HMS Brocklesby and work closely with the US Navy Fifth Fleet as part of the 30 nation Combined Maritime Forces and Gulf Cooperation Council.

In preparation for the mission, the crew has recently completed a gruelling five-week Operational Sea Training (OST) package as well as participating in major multi-national exercise Joint Warrior in April.

Able Seaman Elliott Pendrous (22) from the West Midlands, who took part in the training package, said: “The Operational Sea Training has prepared us well for operations. We have conducted a vast range of evolutions, ranging from diving and live explosions to gunnery. Now this team is ready to conduct whatever task is given to us in the deployment ahead.”

For one member of the crew the Gulf deployment will be particularly poignant. Ship’s engineer Warrant Officer Paul Hutchinson (58) from Kent, will make his final voyage with the Royal Navy on board HMS Shoreham having previously served with HMS Norfolk, HMS London and HMS Westminster.

“As my 27 years in the Royal Navy draws to a close, I can say I have some fantastic memories and have visited places many people don’t get to see,” he said. “I hope to make the most of my retirement trip!

“I will miss the Royal Navy, but I’ve got many plans for retirement, starting off with walking from Lands’ End to John O’Groats next year.”

Meanwhile, for Able Seaman Dylan Toomey (24) from Sunderland, Shoreham’s Gulf mission will be his first with the Royal Navy.

“I am excited to deploy for the first time,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the work in the Gulf but also for the chance to experience some different cultures and different cuisines.”

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